We all know that confidence comes from competence. There is a direct correlation with making small significant achievements and the inner belief that we can achieve much more complicated tasks. The Martial Arts, in a very interesting way, does benefit you directly, by providing small achievable goals for you to grow as a person, and thus building your self esteem.
We have seen over the years several students that have mastered their own self esteem by training in the Martial Arts. Joey, is such a case. He came to our studio very little, only 5 years of age. Marissa, his mom, wanted him to train as she had learned that training in a karate studio builds your confidence. We explained to her that was accurate, however, it would take some time for Joey to develop this skill, literally years of training.
She agreed to get started and brought him in to class regularly. After a little while of training, she came into my office and asked about Joey’s progress. I explained to her that his progress in the Martial Arts was going well since he had recently tested for orange belt and kept coming to class without issues. However, she felt Joey needed to still work on his self confidence. I approached him at the time and asked if he wanted to share something in front of the class. I had noticed that though he was a good students, he was generally a quiet kid. At first, he refused and so we invited the whole class to bring items to share at the end of training.
Every class our students would show up with things to share, stuffed animals, new video games, etc. Joey had been bringing his own items but kept refusing to share at the end. One day, after we finished class, he came to me and said he wanted to share with me his item. It was a beautiful painting he made of his family. I explained how happy I was to see the painting and how proud I was of what he had done, and encouraged him to bring it to class again. He refused. So this time I asked him why, and he said the other kids in class might not like it. I told him that he would present his share with me in front of the class and if anyone gave him a hard time they would have to see me after class.
The next class went without an issue and Joey was about to leave when I had the class sit down and I told everyone that one of our friends would be doing a beautiful share for the rest of us. Joey looked at me, I looked at him, and he shook his head negating my request. I told everyone they could not go home yet until our friend was brave enough to share his item. Joey looked at me again and I told him “it’s ok, I’ll be there with you”. Joey walked to his sparring bag, grabbed his painting and walked head down towards me. Once he got there I looked at him and requested he showed his painting to the class. He decided to turn around and after a few seconds of hesitation, finally showed his painting to the rest of the class. They looked and looked and one of the children said out loud “that is cool”. Joey smiled, looked at me and without saying anything else sat down with a smile on his face. Marissa was looking at the whole scene and was smiling and crying as I dismissed the class.
One by one the kids left the studio, and Marissa and Joey stayed until the very end. After everyone left, she shared with me how Joey had changed in great part because of his training and that small share had meant the world to her. Joey had conquered something we all fear, public speaking, and though it was a small victory ever since then, he began to bring shares every single time.
Nowadays we feature a share once a week every for all of our students. They enjoy brining items they can be proud of. Sometimes it is a thing, sometimes it is an accomplishment. This is training in the Martial Arts, and though it has no punches and kicks, learning how to become more confident is an important key that can benefit your life forever.